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Parliamentary questions
PDF 102kWORD 16k
18 May 2017
E-003411-17
Question for written answer E-003411-17
to the Commission
Rule 130
Mark Demesmaeker (ECR) , Helga Stevens (ECR)

 Subject:  Medical use of formaldehyde
 Answer in writing 

On 10 January 2017, the Commission launched a second package of amendments to the directive on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work (2004/37/EC). At the same time, the Commission published a communication announcing that it would propose a third package of amendments at the beginning of 2018, inter alia, concerning formaldehyde.

Cancer is the prime cause of work-related deaths in the EU. We therefore welcome the Commission’s efforts to protect workers in the EU better.

In this context, we should like to table a specific question concerning the medical use of formaldehyde. This substance is used to fix and preserve tissue samples, which is vital in order to make diagnoses. No reliable alternatives seem to be available as yet. Pathologists are currently concerned about the extent to which it will remain possible to put formaldehyde to medical use in future.

1. Is the Commission aware of the concerns of pathologists regarding formaldehyde?

2. How is the Commission taking these concerns into account in its preparatory work on the third package?

3. Can the Commission confirm that medical use of formaldehyde for diagnostic purposes will remain possible in the future?

Original language of question: NL 
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